Mar 08, 2012; New Orleans, LA, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks guard B.J. Young (11) is defended by LSU Tigers guard Andre Stringer (10) during the second half of the first round of the 2012 SEC Tournament at the New Orleans Arena. LSU defeated Arkansas 68-54. Mandatory Credit: Crystal LoGiudice-US PRESSWIRE
Next Friday is Good Friday; yesterday smacked of being quite the opposite if you are a Razorback fan.
BJ Young threw his name into the NBA draft hat, a turn of events that is less shocking than it is depressing. Granted, his entry came with the standard "has not hired agent" qualifier, but if projections are to be believed then Young could be a late first-round pick. The St. Louis product would've been hard pressed to do more for his team as a freshman, ending with a team-leading 15.3 ppg and shooting a healthy 50.4% from the field.
By the time Mike Anderson's first season at the helm of the rudderless basketball program ended, Young was practically the only source of competent offensive play on the depleted roster, and there's no question that the likelihood of his return for 2012-13 was something that Hog supporters could smile about. Now things look bleak, especially because Anderson's first true recruiting class looks underwhelming and the returnees on hand are thoroughly incapable of filling a void that Young's possible exodus would cause.
Then, Friday night, the No. 3 Razorback baseball team gave a puzzling performance at Baton Rouge, losing to 14th-ranked LSU 10-6. Losses happen in baseball, and in this league, with a frequency that you just have to get used to. But what was harder to stomach was the way in which the Tigers, mostly punchless in their first two conference series, just pounded DJ Baxendale and his immediate relief help (Cade Lynch, Colby Suggs) over the first six innings.
Baxendale looks unsettled after two bad starts back-to-back, his season ERA ballooning to 5.23 after he was tattooed for eight hits and five runs in only 2 1/3 innings, and the Hog offense flashed its old, frustrating tendency against plate discipline to the tune of 15 team strikeouts. In a bizarre twist, LSU's three home runs came from three players whose aggregate season home run total to date was zero.
Young may come back, and the Diamond Hogs may bounce back. But Friday, March 30, 2012 was one of those days that we all might do well to forget.